Sylvester Stallone’s Manager Jeff Wald Passes Away at 77

by Matthew Memrick

Longtime manager Jeff Wald, who managed actor Sylvester Stallone and former wife, Helen Reddy, died at age 77.

Wald’s daughter, Traci Wald Donat, confirmed the man’s death to The Hollywood Reporter on Friday. Traci Wald Donat did not reveal the cause of her father’s death. She said her father “was laughing and fighting for the life he lived with epic proportions in every way” to the end of his life.

Born Jeffery Sommers in 1944, the manager produced music acts and boxing stars over the years. Wald represented stars like Stallone, George Carlin, Mike Tyson and Crosby, Stills and Nash. He also worked with Donna Summer, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, and Roseanne Barr.

Traci Wald said her father died with his family around him. The family said it was “heartbroken by the loss of our husband, father, friend and fierce advocate for women’s rights and justice for all.”

According to Yahoo!, boxer George Foreman posted a tribute to Wald. He wrote, “Just getting word that Jeff Wald, longtime boxing promoter, producer and the man who gave me a shot on The Contender years ago, passed away today. What a life that man lived and the stories he told. Condolences to his wife Deborah and his daughter Sarah.”

Wald produced Foreman’s last two boxing fights. Sylvester Stallone worked with Wald to make the “Contender” reality boxing series.

Wald, a Bronx, N.Y. native, was the longtime manager for Australian singer Helen Reddy. He was also married to the singer for 18 years and had a son with her.

Wald, Reddy A Volatile Couple

Wald and Reddy married in 1968, and the couple’s marriage produced a son, Jordan, in 1972. 

In a 1975 People Magazine interview, Reddy talked about her stressful relationship, saying the couple had “huge, healthy fights.” But, she also mentioned, she owed her success to Wald.

The article said Reddy was the world’s biggest-selling female vocalist at the time, and Wald was there to “run it all.” She called their relationship like teamwork. While she sang, and he did everything else, but together they called their relationship “our career.”

By that time, Sylvester Stallone was also making lots of money. His “Rocky II” film grossed over $200 million and the star’s manager was likely make a good percentage of his star’s success. During the 1980s, Stallone was one of biggest action movie stars in the world.

By 1981, Wald and Reddy separated, and Wald got treatment in Beverly Hills for an eight-year battle with cocaine. Reportedly, Wald spent $100,000 a year on his drug habit.

However, Reddy withdrew her divorce petition after a day, claiming that a one-month separation after 13 years of marriage was “too short” to make a decision.”

But Wald’s drug demons returned a year later, and eventually, they finalized their divorce in January 1983. After a lengthy court battle over the custody of Jordan, the former couple agreed to share custody of Jordan.

The young son later changed his last name to Sommers and worked as his mom’s assistant. 

Stallone’s Manager Opened Up About Past Drug Issues

In 2011, Wald talked to the magazine about his past drug addictions and his 20-plus years of sobriety. He said he never thought he could’ve done it and didn’t miss his drinking days.

He also said he had a great relationship with his older children and thanked them for tolerance over his past transgressions.

Wald found some success with “The Contender” series and Sylvester Stallone worked on the show as its co-host.

“I’m married now, 20 years, to the same person,” Wald said. “I’m actually faithful. I’ve got a great kid; I pay attention. I’m present.”